Randy Pobst Finishes Strong Second with Tri-Point Motorsports MAZDA6 at Miller Motorsports Park Touring Car Race Sports car racing standout Randy Pobst, piloted his electric blue and white Tri-Point Motorsports prepared ...
Randy Pobst Finishes Strong Second with Tri-Point Motorsports MAZDA6 at Miller Motorsports Park Touring Car Race
Sports car racing standout Randy Pobst, piloted his electric blue and white Tri-Point Motorsports prepared #73 Mazdaspeed MAZDA6 to a well earned 2nd place this past weekend, in the inaugural World Challenge Touring Car race at the brand new Miller Motorsports Park outside Salt Lake City, Utah. Tri- Point driver Jeff Altenburg ensured that there were two MAZDA6s in the top five with his fine 4th place finish, while Dino Crescentini finished 17th on the day in his #74 Tri-Point entry.
New Track on the Block
The new Miller Motorsports Park generated anticipation among many of the drivers and crew members in the World Challenge paddock. The sprawling 24- turn 4.5-mile natural terrain roadcourse offers up a wide and smooth racing surface with a challenging mix of fast and slow corners as well as some elevation changes. The 25-car Touring Car field took full advantage of the track available, as the 13-lap 41-minute race, held Saturday afternoon amidst clear but very warm conditions, was run without a single full course yellow flag period.
Pobst starting off the Tri-Point weekend strongly by slotting the #73 entry 2nd on the grid next to pole position winner Pierre Kleinubing in the #42 Realtime Racing Acura TS-X. Randy's lap of 3:09.417 was less than two tenths of a second off of pole. Altenburg qualified 6th in his #72 MAZDA6 with a lap of 3:10.377, and Dino Crescentini qualified a season best 8th at 3:10.886.
Green to the End
Even though the Touring Car race was run without any full course yellows, there was some contact at the start as Crescentini and Realtime principal and driver of the #1 Acura TS-X Peter Cunningham came together shortly after the start. Despite the contact, both cars were able to complete the full race distance, with Crescentini finishing 17th .
Pobst maintained his second place position throughout the race, although for much of it he was embroiled in a battle with the Acura RS-X of Eric Curran. As Curran and Pobst battled during the early stages, it allowed eventual race winner Kleinubing to develop a gap to Randy's MAZDA6. As the race progressed, Pobst was able to gain some breathing room from Curran and set his sites on Kleinubing. Randy, his Mazdaspeed entry working well in the later stages of the event, closed the gap to Kleinubing to only 1.22 seconds at the checkered flag.
Altenburg, as we have come to expect of him each race weekend, drove a strong and smart race and moved up the ladder to finish a very competitive 4th at the flag. It was clear that Altenburg had a strong car as the race progressed, and in fact, Jeff eventually turned the fasted race lap of the Tri-Point trio at 3:11.738.
Jeff Altenburg #74 Ellicott City, Maryland
I loved the new facility, and it made for some good racing with my Tri- Point MAZDA6. Craig (Nagler - Tri-Point team principal) and I have been working in a different direction from Randy the last few races, and it was good enough that Randy abandoned the set-ups he was working on and adopted ours. That's great teamwork, and it helped get Randy back on the podium. Unfortunately, I went a little too far in that direction, and my set-up was off for the race. Considering the laps I was able to run and that I closed up on the lead pack near the end, I'm sure I could have won had I stuck with my previous set-up. I took a step back from my previous two races, but I will be looking for the top podium step for sure at Denver.
Randy Pobst #73 Gainesville, Georgia
I had a competitive and challenging race. I'm very pleased with the second place, but I'm even more pleased with the direction we are taking with the handling of my MAZDA6. Craig Nagler has been creative with his development of the car. I feel like I'm back after a bit of a slump, and I think we might just be able to win the next one.
Dino Crescentini #74 Malibu, California
I was pretty happy with qualifying, and I was looking forward to a good race. We seem to be getting a good set up underneath the car and its getting better and better to drive each weekend. It's a shame about the contact with PD (Cunningham), but at least we were able to get through to the finish.
Pobst now trails Kleinubung in the driver's championship race by 18 points 164-146, although he was able to open the gap to defending champion and third place driver Peter Cunningham to 29 points - 146-117.
Altenburg lies fifth with 97 points, only 7 points out of fourth.
Crescentini sits twelfth with 48 points.
Mazda still has a firm grip on second in the manufacturer points race but trails Acura 40-34.